Volkswagen partner Gotion unveils breakthrough EV battery

Xu Xingwu, deputy dean of Gotion Engineering R&D, during an event in Hefei, on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Image credit: Gotion High-Tech)

Volkswagen’s battery partner Gotion High-Tech Co.,Ltd. revealed a new battery cell which it said may significantly reduce the cost of electric vehicles and ease concerns over battery safety, TechNode.com reports.

Details: Gotion on Friday announced that it was the first company to reach cell-level energy density of 210 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) in lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.

  • China’s third-biggest battery maker did not disclose an expected driving range for vehicles with its new LFP battery installed. But an EV with cells containing energy density of 190 Wh/kg can last more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) on a single charge, close to Tesla’s China-made Model 3 with LFP battery cells from competitor CATL.
  • The company also introduced a new structural battery pack technology called Jellyroll to Module (JTM), which it offers in different forms and shapes. It expects such flexibility could help increase adoption of LFP batteries.
  • A number of automakers are currently in talks with the company for collaboration on the new battery technology, Xu Xingwu, deputy dean of Gotion Engineering R&D, told TechNode. Xu did not disclose the names of potential partners or a timeline.
  • The company expects to provide batteries starting in 2023 for the China production of Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform, a modular design for varied EV battery packs. The two companies formed a partnership in May as part of the German automaker’s goal to sell 1.5 million EVs in China by 2025.

Context: LFP batteries began regaining popularity starting last year, thanks to consistent improvement in performance, higher thermal stability, and lower costs.

  • Tesla began selling its Model 3 vehicles with LFP batteries from CATL in China late last year, recently reducing the starting price of its locally made sedan to RMB 249,900 ($36,850) from its starting price of RMB 328,000 ($47,529), driven by lowered battery costs, according to Reuters.
  • China’s biggest EV maker and major battery supplier, BYD, in May launched a newly designed LFP battery, equipped on its premium Han sedan. The company said last week that it had sold a total of 40,556 Han EVs since its July launch.
  • NIO has reportedly followed suit, with rumors spreading last week about the company launching an economy vehicle model with LFP batteries from CATL. CEO William Li confirmed that the company has been in talks with relevant parties about the possibility of adopting LFP batteries, but denied any plans for a launch in the short term, according to a Chinese media report on Thursday.
  • LFP materials do not contain cobalt, an expensive EV battery component, and are less likely to overheat than the mainstream nickel-cobalt-alumninum (NCA) or nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries on passenger EVs. Still, NCA/ NMC materials can store more energy than LFP cells, giving cars a potentially longer range.